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Author Topic: Using a CNC Controlled Vertical Mill as a Lathe  (Read 1333 times)

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Using a CNC Controlled Vertical Mill as a Lathe
« on: March 02, 2016, 12:18:58 PM »
You will find many fine examples of people using their CNC mills as lathes. But finding the details of how they did it is not so common. The part I cut is far from impressive, but this is not all bad. It means I needed to write only a few lines of  G-code. Details of the fixturing and code are presented.

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Re: Using a CNC Controlled Vertical Mill as a Lathe
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2016, 01:36:30 PM »
That list of people doing it would also include Renishaw as described in a machine shop magazine some years ago. They came to the conclusion a VMC could do the milling and most of the lathe work more economicly than any other method. Without a robot and just a custom pallet changer it could load and unload both parts and tools from a pallet.

I personally produced lots pulleys used with hoses up to about 12" diameter on a bridgeport size CNC mill  I had a tool block bolted to the table with an Aloris Lathe toolpost.

I just finished a similar tool block to hold an Aloris tool lost on our much larger CNC bed mill at work. I am also  machining a Cat40 tooling block so I can use some of the 50 holders we have with taper drills, boring bars and such. I already have adapted a Cat40 shell mill holder to mount a 5" 3 jaw chuck on the spindle, and we have collets from 1/8" to 1-1/4" for small stuff.

A few weeks ago I machined 32 aluminum stanchion bases for my sailboat from 6061 aluminum. I did the threaded mounting hole first then used a threaded arbor to hold them in the spindle. I used the CamBam lathe programming to produce the G-code and it worked really great.

This is really a workable concept, think gang tooled lathe and tilt your head to the right while looking at the mill if it makes you feel better!